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Condenser Microphone Comparative and Test

Microphone Condensateur Studio

Discover all the condenser microphone reviews for recording studios. Condenser microphones include both solid-state transistor microphones (with phantom power) and tube microphones. The most prestigious brands are Neumann, AKG, Blue Microphones, Rode, Brauner, Telefunken, Audio-Technica and Manley.

Good to know: condenser microphones are the most popular for recording vocals and acoustic instruments in the studio, but they are also the most sensitive.

What’s a Condenser Microphone? 🧐

The condenser microphone is also called an electrostatic microphone. They are much more delicate than dynamic microphones. However, they offer a much more appreciated sound quality. Would you like to invest in this type of microphone? Then find out more about condenser microphones.

The operating principle of a condenser microphone 🛠

In opposition to a dynamic microphone, the condenser or electrostatic microphone doesn’t involve a moving coil device. The diaphragm of the condenser microphone is a thin, extremely light disk. It’s made of either titanium metal, aluminum alloy or mylar. In other examples, we also note the use of a polyester made conductive by a specific treatment.

This diaphragm is floating and constitutes one of the armatures of a capacitor. It’s placed at a distance of 20 microns from the fixed rear armature. It’s these two plates that form the whole armature of the capacitor. The air between the plates will act as a dielectric. The distance between the two plates is variable. It’s the pressure variations caused by the sound source that will make this distance change. It will be translated into an electrical signal.

This type of microphone needs an external power supply to operate correctly. It’s a 48 volt phantom power supply that will take on this function. An audio cable will then carry the generated power.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t interfere with the transmission and exploitation of the audio signal. Indeed, the power supply will polarize the plates of the capacitor using a direct voltage of 48 volts to charge itself. The mobile diaphragm is subjected to the action of an acoustic wave.

The distance between the plates will also vary. The capacitance of the capacitor will change contrary to the charge of the capacitor, which will remain constant. The distance between the diaphragm and the fixed armature is the guarantee of a high sensitivity. It should be the minimum possible. For an outstanding result, the diaphragm should not only be light, but also as stretched as possible.

The main characteristics of static microphones ✅

Condenser microphones have a very high sensitivity. Indeed, the sensitivity is between 2 and 10 mV/Pa or a sensitivity level of -54 and 40 dB. Due to its design, it also has an excellent frequency response curve.

This kind of microphone is delicate and very sensitive to humidity. In addition, it requires a power supply (Phantom) to produce the polarization voltage for the condenser. It should also be noted that, as a condensor or electrostatic microphone, a condenser microphone has a tendency to attract dust.

One of the advantages of this microphone is that it can be made very small. For this reason, the majority of lavalier microphones are condenser microphones. In addition, they are not very sensitive to shocks and external magnetic fields. One of the greatest advantages is their polar characteristics, which are close to the ideal curves.

Using Condenser Microphones 👍

These microphones are used for sound recording requiring a specific room. This is why they are mostly destined for studio use. They can be used to capture voice, acoustic, string, wind and brass instruments. The sound quality that the microphone produces is exceptional.

Not only is the sound of such smoothness, but it also manages to make all the nuances of their tone. This is due in large part to its high sensitivity and its flat, extended frequency response curve.

On the other hand, it’ s not recommended to use it for recording percussion instruments, with one exception: cymbals. In this case it can be used for an overhead recording. It is also not recommended to use it outdoors without protecting the diaphragm with a windscreen.

The different Types of Condenser Microphones 🎤

Basically, there are two types of condenser microphones on the market:

  • A condenser microphone, which requires the use of an external power supply;
  • An electret condenser microphone, which is a recent innovation.

The externally polarized condenser microphone:

This is a classic condenser microphone, since it requires 48 volts of phantom power to operate.

An electret condenser microphone:

An electret is a dielectric material in which permanent polarization is achieved. The use of an electret in a condenser or electrostatic microphone allows the external polarization source (phantom power) to be abandoned. There are two possible configurations for this:

Either the electret is placed on the fixed electrode,

Or it is deposited on the metal diaphragm.

Commonly known as a wireless microphone, its behavior is similar to that of the conventional condenser microphone. Electret microphones, however, require a continuous power supply to operate. Since they don’t require an external power supply, this technology is used for many applications.

Examples include lavalier microphones, or microphones for cell phones. It can also be found in microphones combined with a headset attached to the end of a pole. This same technology is also used in stage microphones attached to the head. In other words, this technology allows for small, very effective microphones.

The best electret condenser microphones are known for their exceptional quality. They deliver stunning sound quality and are frequently used for broadcasting. They are also used for recording and sound reinforcement.

Due to its small diaphragm, the microphone is virtually unaffected by handling, background and mechanical noise. In most cases, this type of microphone has a cardioid or hypercardioid directivity.

They also have two additional advantages over other microphones: their lightness and their size. Indeed, they can be very small. In addition, its characteristics are particularly suitable for a wireless microphone, and miniature microphones of all kinds.

Misconceptions about Condenser Microphones 👏

  • Condenser microphones are much more delicate than dynamic microphones: ❌ not necessarily.

    Currently, there are several types of microphones that are designed specifically for studio use. Just because a microphone is designed for studio use doesn’t mean that it is necessarily delicate. It depends on the design and choice of building materials. Some good quality microphones (e.g., Neumann or Shure) can withstand frequent and repetitive handling.

    Condenser microphones always need phantom power: partly true.

    If your microphone doesn’t produce sound, it may need external power. However, there is the so-called electret condenser microphone. This type of microphone uses either a phantom power supply or a battery. It is often used as a wireless microphone.

    Condenser microphones are very sensitive to feedback: not necessarily true.

    It’ s a matter of choosing the right microphone for the right application. For example, using a condenser microphone for remote recording will result in low-frequency feedback. In this case, the microphone will be misapplied unless a low pass/high pass is used.

    Condenser microphones cannot handle high sound pressure levels: False

    Condenser microphones can usually handle very high sound pressure levels. The real question is the capacity of the preamp used.

    Using a condenser microphone is much more expensive than using a dynamic microphone: Sometimes true

    It all depends on your purpose. It is true that dynamic microphones are less expensive. There are also some very powerful ones. But in the end, what about the quality of your production? Always remember that each microphone has its own specific application.

Feedback about the use of Condenser Microphones 🤙

Microphones are part of our daily lives. The current market offers several types of microphones, including the condenser or static microphone. This is a versatile studio microphone that offers exceptional sound reproduction.

Condenser microphones offer very good audio quality. This is a professional microphone that can be equipped with many types of directivity. Some have a fixed cardioid directivity. For more versatility, other microphones have a switchable option from cardioid to bidirectional or even omnidirectional.

In general, the sound produced by a condenser microphone is very popular because it has a close-up effect. It’ s a warm and natural sound. This is mainly due to its linear frequency response. To add a touch of originality, manufacturers add a small, well-designed hump at a specific point. The aim is to control the high frequencies and to obtain a much warmer bass, for example.

Condenser microphones are compatible with most audio interfaces and mixers. They can be used as a microphone with the addition of a windscreen or a pop filter. They are primarily used to protect the microphone and to control pop. Engineers also use them for recording various instruments such as acoustic guitar, piano, clarinet, percussion…

One of the most popular features of condenser microphones is their high sensitivity. This is a result of the design of the microphone. If you can hear birds chirping in your recordings, the microphone can too. This is one of the reasons why it is mainly used in an acoustically treated room.

But this sensitivity can also pick up all mouth and lip sounds. All vibrations will be picked up by the microphone. To compensate this, you can use a pop filter, a microphone stand or a microphone stand.

This is essential recording equipment for a studio recording. If you meet a recording engineer, ask him if he has a condenser microphone. The answer will be a definite yes. If you go to a professional recording studio, they will also have a condenser microphone. All this to say that any self-respecting professional knows the value of a condenser microphone.

Our selection of Condenser Microphones ❤️

If you want to buy a condenser microphone, here is our unofficial selection of the best microphones on the market:


You can also choose a vintage reproduction of a mythical model to build yourself or ready to use on the following condenser microphones: